In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Liberalism without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian Tradition by Christopher H. Evans, and: Robust Liberalism: H. Richard Niebuhr and the Ethics of American Public Life by Timothy A. Beach-VerheyJames M. BrandtLiberalism without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian Tradition Christopher H. Evans Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010. 207pp. $24.95Robust Liberalism: H. Richard Niebuhr and the Ethics of American Public Life Timothy A. Beach-Verhey Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, (...) 2011. 238pp. $49.95Christopher Evans’s Liberalism without Illusions and Timothy Beach-Verhey’s Robust Liberalism have much in common, although they do not mean the same thing when they refer to “liberalism.” Evans traces the trajectory of liberal Christianity or “liberal theology” from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century to the present and suggests how it might renew itself. Beach-Verhey considers the political tradition of liberal democracy and how the radical monotheism of H. Richard Niebuhr can help form a “robust liberalism.” Both books attend to the present situation of public life in the United States and assert the need for theology that points emphatically to the God who is in and beyond history.Evans admits that liberal theology is difficult to define and that it includes significant diversity. One reason for its elusiveness is the “remarkable elasticity” (7) it has shown over time. Theological liberalism “supports critical engagement with both Christian traditions and contemporary intellectual resources” (6). In a way different from traditional theology, it “has been characterized by an affirmation of personal and collective experience, systemic social analysis and open theological inquiry” (6).At its best, liberal theology, appealing to Jesus’s ministry and especially his teaching of the reign of God, inspired people to believe they could make a difference in the here and now. And liberal theology did this without an uncritical endorsement of Western “progress.” In its heyday, liberal theology’s leaders were pulpiteers who spoke to both personal and social issues and commanded significant and loyal followings.From the pinnacle of its ecclesial and cultural significance in the mid-twentieth century, liberal theology has fallen to a low place. Evans argues that [End Page 190] this has happened because liberal theology has lost its congregational base and become isolated in academia and among denominational leaders. Liberal theology has been unable to sustain its vigor at a popular level. Meanwhile, after its seeming defeat in the 1930s, fundamentalism recast itself as evangelicalism, organized at the grassroots level, and developed popular theologies that resonated with large numbers of people. Much of evangelicalism has been held together by dispensationalism and its attention to the end times. Liberals deemed dispensationalism unworthy of response, but Evans argues that liberals’ failure to engage dispensationalism seriously is to their detriment. While liberals were right to reject dispensationalism’s literalism and pessimism, Evans recognizes that its appeal has been the way it holds biblical texts together with concrete historical events, and that it is a logical development of traditional Protestant insistence on the authority of scripture.Evans’s prescription for the rejuvenation of liberal Christianity includes a posture of exile, knowing that the larger culture will not care much about what liberals say or do. Liberals need to regain a connection with scripture and tradition, offer a compelling alternative to the conservative vision, and get in touch with the deepest yearnings and anxieties of people in the pew (and those not in the pew).Liberal theology has made significant contributions to church and society, not least its call for transformation of structures of oppression. Evans counsels that liberals today need to speak to social issues but avoid being too closely identified with them. He appeals to Reinhold Niebuhr’s claim that the pursuit of justice is important, but it is not what constitutes Christian identity. Liberal Christianity’s enduring legacy is its faith that God is at work in the world. Evans affirms that liberals must continue to function as the church and attend to the deepest truths of the tradition, not least this active hope in the living God.Evans’s book provides a broad overview of the liberal tradition and charts well its historical passage, its strengths, and its failings... (shrink)
I take it as my assignment to criticize the Gauthier enterprise. At the outset, however, I should express my general agreement with David Gauthier's normative vision of a liberal social order, including the place that individual principles of morality hold in such an order. Whether the enterprise is, ultimately, judged to have succeeded or to have failed depends on the standards applied. Considered as a coherent grounding of such a social order in the rational choice behavior of persons, the enterprise (...) fails. Considered as an extended argument implying that persons should adopt the moral stance embodied in the Gauthier structure, the enterprise is, I dunk, largely successful. Considered as a set of empirically falsifiable propositions suggesting that persons do, indeed, choose as the Gauthier precepts dictate, the enterprise offers Humean hope rather than Hobbesian despair. (shrink)
The ontological argument appears in a multiplicity of forms. Over the past ten or twelve years, however, the philosophical community seems to have been concerned principally with those versions of the proof which claim that God is a necessary being. In contemporary literature, Professors Malcolm and Hartshorne have been the chief advocates of this view, both men holding that God must be conceived as a necessary being and that, as a result, his existence is able to be demonstrated a priori (...) . This claim has not gone unchallenged; indeed, numerous writers have argued that neither Malcolm nor Hartshorne has exercised due care in his use of ‘necessary’. That is, critics charge that the arguments of both men have only the appearance of validity, for in their reasonings the defenders of the a priori proof have tacitly assumed that God is a logically necessary being. Whether or not a being can be logically necessary, however, is a quaestio disputata . In fact, until recently the question was not in dispute at all—virtually all ‘competent judges’ agreed that only propositions could be spoken of as logically necessary, and thus that God must be defined as a physically or factually necessary being. But is the statement, ‘a physically necessary being exists’, logically true? Critics of the ontological argument think not; and in support of this view they offer analyses of ‘physical necessity’ which, they feel, not only give meaning to the phrase, but also show that a physically necessary being's existence can be proven only by some kind of a posteriori investigation. (shrink)
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
To commence any answer to the question “Can democracy promote the general welfare?” requires attention to the meaning of “general welfare.” If this term is drained of all significance by being defined as “whatever the political decision process determines it to be,” then there is no content to the question. The meaning of the term can be restored only by classifying possible outcomes of democratic political processes into two sets – those that are general in application over all citizens and (...) those that are discriminatory. (shrink)
Sex: Nagel, T. Sexual perversion. Ruddick, S. On sexual morality.--Abortion: Ramsey, P. The morality of abortion. Foot, P. The problem of abortion and the doctrine of the double effect. Wertheimer, R. Understanding the abortion argument. Thomson, J. J. A defense of abortion.--Prejudice and discrimination: Wasserstrom, R. Rights, human rights, and racial discrimination. Roszak, B. Women's liberation. Lucas, J. R. Because you are a woman. Thomson, J. J. Preferential hiring. Singer, P. Animal liberation.--Civil disobedience: Rawls, J. The justification of civil disobedience. (...) Singer, P. Rawls on civil disobedience. Dworkin, R. M. Law and civil disobedience.--Punishment: Downie, R. S. The justification of punishment. Kneale, W. The responsibility of criminals. Hart, H. L. A. Murder and the principles of punishment: England and the United States.--War: Anscombe, G. E. M. War and murder. Wasserstrom, R. On the morality of war: a preliminary inquiry. Lackey, D. Ethics and nuclear deterrence. Narveson, J. Pacifism: a philosophical analysis.--Suicide and death: Brandt, R. B. The morality and rationality of suicide. Holland, R. F. Suicide. Nagel, T. Death. Williams, B. The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality.--Selected bibliography (p. 432-437). (shrink)
According to James M. Kauffman, too much of what is said today about educational reform is nonsense that shortchanges students, parents, and taxpayers. This deforms education rather than reforming it. The primary objective of this book is to help teachers, teacher educators, policy makers, and parents think more critically about current rhetoric about education. Reason and science in the enlightenment tradition are more helpful in reforming and improving education than political agendas. Reform should focus on instruction. Education must address (...) the full range of learners, from those who are mentally retarded to those who are intellectually gifted. Special education, multicultural education, and standardized testing are among the controversial issues explored. Extremes of both left and right ideologies are rejected in favor of careful thinking and sound judgment. (shrink)
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
Martin Heidegger rarely explicitly dealt with the topic of music. The Heraclitus lectures, delivered in 1943 and 1944, offer a notable exception. Heidegger here speaks openly of the “Lied der Erde” (“Earth’s song”). Most intriguing, perhaps, though, is the use of Fügung in relation to ἁρμονία (harmonia), which he links to understanding φὑσις (physis; the “emerging” character of the world) and being. Translated by Assaiante and Ewegen as “jointure,” Fügung bears a connection with the German Fuge, which contains the double (...) meaning of joint and fugue. Drawing on a close reading of the Heraclitus lectures, this paper will explore the dual nature of Fügung with an eye towards laying the groundwork for understanding a latent musicality within Heidegger’s larger corpus, centering around perceiving, fugue, and their implications for listening to the “Earth’s song,” which will be read in literal, environmental terms as the soundscape or, perhaps, musical manifold. (shrink)
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
This book defends the view that any adequate account of rational decision making must take a decision maker's beliefs about causal relations into account. The early chapters of the book introduce the non-specialist to the rudiments of expected utility theory. The major technical advance offered by the book is a 'representation theorem' that shows that both causal decision theory and its main rival, Richard Jeffrey's logic of decision, are both instances of a more general conditional decision theory. The book solves (...) a long-standing problem for Jeffrey's theory by showing for the first time how to obtain a unique utility and probability representation for preferences and judgements of comparative likelihood. The book also contains a major new discussion of what it means to suppose that some event occurs or that some proposition is true. The most complete and robust defence of causal decision theory available. (shrink)
The pragmatic character of the Dutch book argument makes it unsuitable as an "epistemic" justification for the fundamental probabilist dogma that rational partial beliefs must conform to the axioms of probability. To secure an appropriately epistemic justification for this conclusion, one must explain what it means for a system of partial beliefs to accurately represent the state of the world, and then show that partial beliefs that violate the laws of probability are invariably less accurate than they could be otherwise. (...) The first task can be accomplished once we realize that the accuracy of systems of partial beliefs can be measured on a gradational scale that satisfies a small set of formal constraints, each of which has a sound epistemic motivation. When accuracy is measured in this way it can be shown that any system of degrees of belief that violates the axioms of probability can be replaced by an alternative system that obeys the axioms and yet is more accurate in every possible world. Since epistemically rational agents must strive to hold accurate beliefs, this establishes conformity with the axioms of probability as a norm of epistemic rationality whatever its prudential merits or defects might be. (shrink)
The notion that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures has been the venue of much philosophical theological work in the past 40 years. One mode of engagement with this idea has been to defend the coherence of the idea. This has been done by, for example, revising standard conceptions of divinity and humanity or predicate attribution. Another mode of engagement with the doctrine is to offer models for how the state of affairs of the Incarnation might work. This (...) could involve retrieving models from thinkers of the past. Finally, the constructive mode applies the reasoning of the two natures/one person conception to other areas of Christian theology such as the atonement or the Eucharist. Examples of each of these modes from the contemporary analytic literature are presented. (shrink)
Analytic theology seeks to utilize conceptual tools and resources from contemporary analytic philosophy for ends that are properly theological. As a theological methodology relatively new movement in the academic world, this novelty might render it illegitimate. However, I argue that there is much in the recent analytic theological literature that can find a methodological antecedent championed in the fourteenth century known as declarative theology. In distinction from deductive theology—which seeks to extend the conclusions of theology beyond the articles of faith—declarative (...) theology strives to make arguments for the articles of faith. It does it not to provoke epistemic assent to the truth of the articles, but serves as a means of faith seeking understanding. In this paper, examples are drawn from recent analytic discussions to illustrate the manner that analytic theology has been, is, and can be an instance of declarative theology, and thus a legitimate theological enterprise for today. (shrink)
The doctrine of the Eucharist has been one of the more fruitful locales of philosophical reflection within Christian theology. The central philosophical question has been, ‘what is the state of affairs such that it is apt to say of a piece of bread, “This is the body of Christ”?’ In this article, I offer a delineation of various families of answers to this question as they have been proffered in the history of the church. These families are distinguished by how (...) they view the presence of the body of Christ as well as the continued presence of the bread and wine after consecration. I then provide a specific examination of some recent attempts to explicate these views. A number of the recent work has focused on the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but I also survey consubstantiation, transignification, and a recent revival of impanation as potential means for describing the metaphysical realities of the Eucharist. (shrink)
In classical theism, God is typically conceived of as having the attribute of omnipresence. However, this attribute often falls prey to two puzzles, the immateriality puzzle and the intensity puzzle. A recent explication of omnipresence by Hud Hudson falls short of solving these puzzles. By attending to key narratives in the Hebrew Scriptures, I argue that one ought to conceive of God’s presence at a location as God’s acting at that location. Thus, God’s omnipresence is God’s acting at all locations.
This study examines the influence of ethics instruction, religiosity, and intelligence on cheating behavior. A sample of 230 upper level, undergraduate business students had the opportunity to increase their chances of winning money in an experimental situation by falsely reporting their task performance. In general, the results indicate that students who attended worship services more frequently were less likely to cheat than those who attended worship services less frequently, but that students who had taken a course in business ethics were (...) no less likely to cheat than students who had not taken such a course. However, the results do indicate that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced cheating behavior was moderated by the religiosity and intelligence of the individual student. In particular, while students who were highly religious were unlikely to cheat whether or not they had taken a business ethics course, students who were not highly religious demonstrated less cheating if they had taken a business ethics course. In addition, the extent of cheating among highly intelligent students was significantly reduced if such students had taken a course in business ethics. Likewise, individuals who were highly intelligent displayed significantly less cheating if they were also highly religious. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Ostrow (sociology, Bentley College) concludes that the world is inherently social because individuals are immersed in social sensitivity at a young age. Paper edition (unseen), $10.95. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.